Friday, March 19, 2010

Inside Politics

Outside of my family and Grace Church, my two greatest interests in life are baseball and politics. I love keeping up on all of the political happenings in our country – especially at the national level. I thoroughly enjoy listening and/or watching political talk/news shows on both the radio and television. And though I consider myself to be a political conservative, I enjoy watching and listening to these political shows no matter if they are coming from a liberal or conservative perspective. I am constantly flipping from FOX News to CNN to MSNBC and then back again. In fact, I can enjoy keeping the channel set on CSPAN and CSPAN 2 as well.

The part of politics I enjoy the most is seeing some of the “inner workings”, especially as it relates to the White House or Capitol Hill. One of my favorite shows of all times was the drama series, West Wing, in which Marin Sheen played President Bartlet. Now in the show, Bartlet was pretty much a liberal so it had a liberal slant to its story lines but that didn’t bother me a bit. What I loved about the show is that it gave a true glimpse of how the West Wing really functions. In fact, they used advisors from three different real administrations to make sure that the way they were presenting the functioning of the West Wing was pretty accurate. As I result, I loved watching the show. It actually is on one of the more obscure cable channels still each morning. I watch back to back episodes of it every Friday morning on my day off before I go grocery shopping with my wife (another hobby I truly enjoy! No kidding!).

As a result of my genuine fascination with the inner working of the political machine in America, I recently got a book that I am enjoying reading. Keep in mind that I read so much during my day as part of my studying for sermons that I really don’t do much reading outside of the office simply for enjoyment. But last week I picked up Karl Rove’s new book Courage and Consequences. Rove, of course, is often credited for both of George Bush’s presidential election victories and was his senior advisor during his administration. In the book he takes us from the first time he met Bush through helping him defeat in upset fashion Ann Richards for Governor of Texas and then through his becoming President of the United States.

The majority of the book details the 8 years of President Bush’s administration from the perspective of one whose office was just 15 steps away from the Oval Office. Man, would I give anything to see the Oval Office for myself. I saw an exact replica of it at the Reagan Library in California on vacation one year (told you I loved politics) but I just can’t imagine what it would be like to actiually stand in the real Oval Office or sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.

The truth is that if God had not called me into the ministry I think I could have really enjoyed a life in politics. Campaigning – making speeches – debating policy – sounds like a lot of fun to me. In fact, I actually think if I had gone that direction I just might have been reasonably good at it (especially if I had a Karl Rove by my side). But then again, I guess as a pastor I get to experience both worlds. I get to be part every day of the hope of the world – the church. And Lord knows that there is always enough church politics to satisfy that interest in my life as well.

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